Researchers from the Weizmann Institute in Israel in Israel have discovered that a non-toxic blue dye helped to heal and repair damaged heart tissue in mice after they had a heart attack. A compound from a molecule in Chicago Sky Blue (CSB) dye was found to prevent damaging inflammation in mice who had experienced a heart attack. The researchers injected this blue dye directly into the hearts of mice and this led to reducing inflammation and an improvement in heart function. Results of the research led by Professor Eldad Tzahor were published November 14, 2019 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight (JCI).
Hearts of Adult Mammals do not Heal Properly after a Heart Attack
Hearts of adult mammals, including humans, do not heal properly after a heart attack and the result is that ischemic heart disease is a leading cause of worldwide death. Having a heart attack can also lead to having more heart attacks and this may eventually lead to congestive heart failure (CHF). Unfortunately, there is no safe and successful treatment available for heart failure and it is a chronic disease. Medications may be prescribed, as well as cutting down on salt and being more physically active.
Cardiomyocytes are heart muscle cells. The heart is mainly made up of muscle. When cardiomyocytes get damaged they cannot repair themselves. Thus, there is a search for a way to have cardiomyocyte renewal. This search for a way to cardiomyocyte renewal led to the discovery of the blue dye.
More Research is Needed
More research is needed to see if this blue dye will also work with humans. If so this could be a breakthrough in treating heart attacks and preventing heart failure.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 5.7 million Americans have congestive heart failure. One in nine deaths in 2009 included heart failure as a contributing cause. About half of the people who develop heart failure die within 5 years of diagnosis. Heart failure costs the nation an estimated $30.7 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat heart failure, and missed days of work.
Most people think that congestive heart failure (CHF) means the heart is no longer working, but the truth is the heart still works but in a limited way. The heart is mainly muscle and when the muscles of the heart can no longer pump blood the way they are supposed to, then this is called heart failure or congestive heart failure. Sometimes the heart and the right or left ventricles that pump blood become too stiff, possibly from high blood pressure, or over stretched and cannot do their job properly. It is more common for problems to begin with the left ventricle, which is the heart’s main pumping ventricle. Heart failure can also lead to kidney and liver damage. Congestive heart failure can be life threatening and in some cases a person may need to have a heart transplant.
Causes of Heart Failure
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common cause of heart failure and heart attacks. This causes a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries that leads to narrowing and congestion.
- Chronic High Blood Pressure causes the heart to over-exert itself and eventually becomes weak or stiff.
- Damage to the heart valves because of CAD, defects or infections like strep
- Damage to the muscles of the heart (cardiomyopathy) can be from genes, infections, drugs, alcohol, smoking or certain medicines that can lead to muscle damage.
- Inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) is often from a viral infection which can cause left-sided heart failure.
- Congenital heart defects are when the infant’s heart did not develop properly before birth and this can lead to heart failure.
- Abnormal heart beats (arrhythmias) occur when the heart beats too fast (tachycardia) or too slowly.
- Chronic diseases like diabetes and HIV
- Thyroid problems either hyperthyroid (too high) or hypothyroid (too low) can cause heart failure.
- Abnormal buildups of iron or protein in the heart can lead to heart failure.
- Obesity forces the heart to work harder and eventually this can lead to heart failure.
- Acute viral or bacterial infections can damage the heart and lead to failure.
- Allergic reactions can affect the heart. For instance anaphylactic shock can cause blood pressure to drop way too low or to zero, the heart stops beating and this is sometimes a cause of death.
- Lung diseases and blood clots in the lungs can lead to heart failure. Lung problems make breathing difficult and this makes a terrible strain on the heart.
- Disruptive sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing periodically during sleep and this weakens the heart.
Symptoms that Might be from Heart Failure
- Feeling short of breath (dyspnea) while working and also while resting
- Weakness and fatigue
- Swollen ankles, legs and feet (edema)
- Fast heart beat (tachycardia)
- Irregular heart beat
- Exercise is difficult
- Cough and/or wheezing with white or blood tinged phlegm
- Urinating a lot at night
- Swelling of the abdomen that may be ascites
- Gaining weight quickly from water retention
- No appetite (anorexia)
- Concentration problems – less alert
- Chest pain which could be a heart attack
- Coughing that leads to choking or feeling unable to breathe and bringing up blood tinged sputum
Types of Heart Failure
- Left-sided heart failure can cause fluid to go into the lungs that causes shortness of breath.
- Right-sided heart failure can cause fluid to get backed up into the abdomen, legs, ankles and feet.
- Systolic heart failure results from the inability of the left ventricle to properly pump the heart.
- Diastolic heart failure occurs when the left ventricle cannot contract or fill up properly.
Congestive Heart Failure may Lead to the Need for Long-term Skilled Nursing Care
The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York offers skilled long-term nursing care at its best. They also offer fine nutritious and healthy dining, a wealth of recreational activities and a warm and caring staff.
Let us hope that this research may be a way to heal heart muscle after a heart attack, to prevent further heart attacks and to prevent congestive heart failure heart failure.